Tonight was one of those nights. I’m home with E. on Wednesdays and Fridays, and some days at home are better and/or more fun than others.
After last week’s illnesses, we had a lot of catching up to do. We had to go to Home Depot (which was, in itself, a fail trip since they don’t carry my reason for going — window screens. Who knew that those had to be special ordered? It’s never easy, is it?), the dry cleaners and the grocery store. The last week, we’ve been basically living on pancakes, cereal and Tijuana Flats. I’m not proud.
I was determined that we’d get our dinners back on track. So I hit up my favorite go-to source for kid-friendly yet healthy dinners — Weelicious. I found two pretty simple but yummy sounding recipes — Nut Crusted Fish Strips and Maple Roast Veggies.
We stocked up on ingredients at the grocery store then headed to the park for an afternoon with our friends. All sounds good so far, right?
As usual, the meltdowns started as I was making dinner. The problem is that E. is almost always ready for dinner by 5 or 5:30 (“Mommy, my belly hurts. I’s hungry!” Keep in mind, this is always after she’s had a big lunch, an afternoon snack and then an after-school snack). So I loaded her up on strawberries and started chopping the veggies for the Maple Roasted recipe. I had just cut the carrots, when I read ahead and realized — these had to roast for 50 minutes. Ugh. It was already 5:40 by this point. So, I started hurrying and not reading closely. I cut the butternut squash in half, scooped out the seeds, got it sauced with the maple syrup, oil and salt and quickly got it into the oven.
Flash forward 10 minutes, when I actually take a moment to read the recipe closely:
1 Delicata Squash, unpeeled, split lengthwise, seeds removed and cut into half moons (you could also use peeled butternut squash)
See that word before butternut? Yeah, peeled? Yeah, I didn’t do that. Crap! I quickly turn to my old friend Betty Google. I found lots of roasting recipes that did not call for peeling the BS, but they all said it should be cut into several pieces — mine was only cut in half. So, I pulled the pan out, and fingers burning, cut the sucker into a few more pieces.
The fish, luckily went much smoother, it just took longer than I thought to dip each piece in flour, egg wash and then the nut and bread crumbs mixture. After cutting up the fish, I probably had at least 15 pieces of fish to send through that three-step process. Not hard, just time consuming. Oh, and then there was the “place the fish directly on the oven rack” step. I lost a few fishes to the cracks. Oops!
So, as all of this is going on, E. keeps coming out — “Mommy, I’s hunnnnngry! More something to eat NOW!” DadJovi got home as I was finishing things up and tried to entertain her as I wrapped things up.
Things were starting to feel like they were going good until, “Hey, what’s that smell? Oh, it just must be the maple syrup burning up on the cookie sheet. No big deal. I’ll just take the veggies out, and oh, frack…”
I suddenly remembered that I missed another step — stir the veggies halfway through. The carrots were black on one side. But hey, not peeling that butternut squash suddenly seemed like a genius mood.
It was about this time that all hell broke loose. E.’s last show before dinner ended and she threw a royal meltdown when DadJovi turned off the TV. She came crying out into the kitchen and then she saw the Zoo Plate I had picked out for her and wow … I can’t believe the neighbors didn’t call the police. The howls and screams and the “nooooooooooos” that came out of her. Over a flippin Zoo Plate.
It was about that time that she got sent to time-out. I kept dishing up the sorry elements of our dinner, and DadJovi and I sat down to eat to the soothing sounds of an all-out tantrum from the time-out chair. Admit it, you’re jealous, aren’t you?
As we sat there nibbling 1/2 pieces of carrots (actually, DadJovi, sensing my mounting stress, claimed he liked them burnt to a crisp), the cries continued. I told her she could join us when she was done crying. A moment later she said, “Mommy, I’s not ready to stop crying yet.” OK, carry on.
Finally, after a few minutes, she stopped crying and said she was ready to eat. I told her she could go and pick out which Zoo Plate she wanted (I only have so much fight in me for one night). And wouldn’t you know it? She picked the SAME EXACT Zoo Plate that started all this crying.
Know what the bigger shocker was? She actually ate the fish sticks? Not only ate them — LOVED them. Even more shocking? SHE ATE A TON OF BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CARROTS! Sorry for the caps but this is MAJOR NEWS in our house. The only veggies she ever gets in her are in smoothies, yogurt or juice (unless edamame counts as a veggie, which I don’t think it does). This was, to quote Rachel Zoe, major. (“Yes, Brad, it was a major moment. Sort of liking watching an unknown actress playing dress-up in our studio. Just like that.”)
So what could all of this possibly have to do with the Kardashians? Like me, you’ve probably noticed that those rascaly girls get themselves into all sorts of predicaments and dramas, yet everything always ties up in a neat little bow at the end of the episode. They’re this generation’s Cosby family, if you will. Only, instead of crazy sweaters, they wear crazy-ass high heels.
And for once, my life felt like the kind of a sitcom where the audience applauds at the end. Hooray, Mom’s burned dinner turned out better than expected! Hooray, Mom and Dad’s parenting actually worked and the tantruming child came to her senses on her own and learned a valuable lesson! Hooray! The child ate her veggies!
Life may not always be that perfect, but for tonight, I’m taking my wins where I can.
P.S. The fish was a major win. We all loved it, even the supposed fish-hating DadJovi. Make it immediately!